Personnel: Ralph Real (keyboards); Jon Laine (drums).
Photographer: Jeremy Deputat.
Released during an extremely busy year for the producer/rapper -- with one EP and an LP also dropped on shelves -- The Odd Tape is Oddisee's beat tape for 2016, but by no means should it automatically come in third. The left-field Brooklyn-based producer does much to elevate the all-instrumental niche of beat tapes with this cool slice of jazz and soul, much of it smooth and soulful and none of it sounding like demos in search of an MC. The mistitled opener "Alarmed" sounds like a superior Earl Klugh cut from the '70s, while the stuttering vocal samples on the great "No Sugar No Cream" finally convince the listener that this is Oddisee behind the boards and not some organic beat combo wearing flares and dashikis, and jamming late into the night. "On the Table" touches upon deep house in a more chilled version of the releases found on the Naked Music label, and "Out at Night" brings reminders of the retrograde and exotica revolutions of the mid-'90s, as lush strings dance about, then break into shards as they fly by. The closing piece, "Still Sleeping," evokes a sentimental song that has faded from memory, where just a few riffs and the overall mood are all that remain, and it all plays out in an order that feels right, like a fully designed LP rather than just a demo reel of beats. Highly recommended for returning fans, aspiring producers, and those who desire a cooled, soul-filling background mix. ~ David Jeffries